“Good night, mom.”

Yawning, I looked at my mom. Age had left its mark on her face, in the wrinkles worn from countless smiles and the slight sag of her tired eyes. She looked radiant as she smiled at me.

“Good night,” she answered, “and, sweetheart…”

“Yes?” I asked, rubbing my eyes.

“Don’t forget to lock the door before you fall asleep.” She was still smiling, but slight tension hardened her eyes. “It gets cold in the hallway.”

“Of course,” I agreed, already heading up the stairway.

I dragged my fingers over the ornate railing, savoring the worn swirls and grooves. My feet sunk into the luxurious pillow of the carpet as I hummed a tune to myself. Light streamed down from the crystal chandelier, its shimmering drops refracting rainbow rays. Years have passed since I’d last stepped foot into my parents’ mansion, and I was determined to enjoy every minute.

I reached the top of the staircase, and stepped into the hallway leading to my childhood bedroom. I padded over to the door, taking a breath as I opened it. Warmth mixed with a buzzing nostalgia poured over me as I took in my room.

A lava lamp stood on my bedside table, bathing the room in calming blue light. My bed stood in one corner, heaped with pillows and a heavy blanket. The desk I’d spent hours studying on covered the left side of the room, and posters of all the bands I’d ever enjoyed plastered the walls. Stepping inside my room was like walking into an alternate universe. It felt completely different from the rest of the house.

With a content sigh, I crawled beneath my blanket. It was so warm, so soft, so comfortable… my eyes, weighed down by an invisible force, closed.

I was thirsty.

Tossing and turning, I tried to sink back into thoughtless slumber. I pulled my blankets over my head and adjusted my pillow, but nothing could pull me back to sleep. Sighing, I opened my eyes.

The room still glowed with a blue light, looking the exact same as when I first fell asleep. I stared at the ceiling, contemplating staying in bed, before pulling the blankets back and climbing out of bed. Groggily, I walked over to the open doorway. Outside my room, the hallway loomed dark and empty. Nighttime shadows painted everything in a menacing shade.

Uttering a quiet curse, I carefully walked over to the stairway. Trudging down the stairs, I wondered if they were longer than usual. The chandelier rang dully when I accidentally nudged it with my elbow, the noise echoing as I sped up my descent. One foot after the other…

At the bottom of the stairs, I drew a shuddering breath. My heart beat noisily in my chest. I just needed to get that water and go back to my room, into my soft bed, I soothed myself.

Walking over, I noticed a soft light pouring from the kitchen. Relieved, I opened the door and saw my mother’s figure. She was fussing over something on the counter, her back turned to me.

“Mom?” I called, my voice raspy. “What’re you doing?”

I came closer, grabbing a cup. “Are you…cooking something?” I asked her.

I poured myself some water from the tap opposite my mom, gulping it down greedily. Sighing, I placed it into the sink. I turned back around, and…

My mother stared back at me. No, ‘stare’ would be the wrong word, as the creature wearing my mother’s body had no eyes. My brain struggled to grasp the concept of her, the empty faceless void and the deformed structure of her head. My heart pounded in my brain, adrenaline rushing through my entire body.


The creature lunged at me. My breath caught in my lungs as I screamed, rushing backwards. I turned and ran, my breath stuttering in horror as the only thought in my brain shrieked, over and over: “get away. Get away. Get away.”

I ran.

I ran up the stairs, the lush carpet hiding the creature’s sounds. My lungs burned as I ran two stairs at a time, hoping, praying, begging the creature wasn’t on me already. My elbows knocked the chandelier and sent it rattling and ringing in alarm as I grabbed the railway to push myself up, faster, faster. Faster.

Finally on the top of the stairs, I burst into hallway towards my room.

And then I looked behind me.

The faceless creature loomed, its spindly hand reaching out towards me. It was so wrong, so disgustingly inhuman, my brain froze. I forced my legs to move, to keep running, to ignore my lungs begging for rest and oxygen. I rushed through the open doorway and slammed the door shut.

I gasped for breath, clutching onto my chest. I collapsed onto the floor, horrified tears streamed down my face. Sobs fought to overtake me, but my hysteria forced my breaths shorter and shorter and…

I wasn’t sure how much time passed, but eventually, my tears had dried. A gentle tremor still wracked my body as I tried to make sense of what I saw. My mother…my lovely, gentle mother…


I flinched so violently, I banged my head on the bed behind me.

My door pushed open slowly, and adrenaline filled me again as I desperately searched for places to run to. My gaze dragged itself upwards from her slippered feet all the way to her…face.Her gentle eyes regarded me curiously. I felt like I could breathe again, and a tingling filled me from head to toe.

She smiled at me.

“I hope you remembered to close the door.”

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